Tulane Green Wave Rolls Over Marshall, 73-65

With a chance to improve to .500 in league play and a sixth win in Conference USA, one more than last season, on the line, Marshall came up short against a resurgent Tulane Green Wave team that has won 5-of-8 since losing to the Herd on Jan. 20. MU had won 8-of-12 at home leading up to tonight's game, but the Herd fell to Tulane, 73-65, as the shooting was a cold as the snowy night outside.

For the second consecutive game, Marshall only made three three-point goals, knocking down just 3-of-14. That comes on the heels of a 3-for-19 night versus SMU that makes the Herd just 66-for-224 in C-USA from behind the arc, just 29 percent in league play. Add that to an overall poor shooting night, hitting just 23-of-65 (35 percent) and allowing Tulane, with no starter over 6-foot-8, to out-rebound the Herd 42-41 (after trailing 35-25 in rebounds about midway through the second half) led to a loss that MU can ill afford late in the season. "We didn't make the big play late," said coach Ron Jirsa. "We missed a number of opportunities inside and 18 turnovers cut down on our other opportunities for baskets."

Markel Humphrey dunked on Tulane's David Gomez in the first half of Saturday's game in Huntington. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Four players had three turnovers each in the game and Marshall had 10 of 18 turnovers in the second half, including four in the first four minutes of the half after going in with a 33-32 lead. Despite the turnovers, the Herd was out to a 43-39 edge with 13:33 left in the game. The game would go back and forth from there, as there were 11 ties and 13 lead changes on the night. Marshall's final lead of the night was 56-55 with 5:52 to play and the Herd was out-scored 18-9 and out-rebounded 17-6 in the final six minutes.

Marshall was led on the night by Mark Dorris and Markel Humphrey, who each scored 15 points in the game. Travis Aikens chipped in 12 points and led the Herd in rebounding with seven, five coming on the offensive glass. But despite a 19-to-12 edge in offensive rebounds, Marshall had only an 11-9 edge in second chance points on the night. A bright spot for the Herd were the five blocks in the game by Jean Francois Bro Grebe, who ties Charlie Jones (1980-81) for the second most blocks in a single season at Marshall with 58. The leader in the season and career blocks mark is Omar Roland, who blocked 101 in 1989-90 and 148 in his career (1988-90). A junior who only played in nine games as a sophomore while recovering from a knee injury, Bro Grebe has 61 career blocks which ties Curtis Raymond (1993-95) for ninth in career blocks. Next is J.R. VanHoose, who blocked 74 (1998-2002), and was honored at Wednesday night's game with a M-Club blanket for his outstanding career at Marshall.

Tulane's Kevin Sims barely saved a steal attempt by Marshall's Darryl Merthie in the first half. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

It has been a good week for former MU players, as at the halftime of the Tulane-Marshall game, former walk-on Adam "Boo-Boo" Zimmerman hit a half-court shot to win a year's free gas from the John W. Clark Oil Co. and Clark's Pump-N-Shops in Huntington. Zimmerman will get $20 a week for the next 52 weeks. He is considering playing professionally overseas in the near future, following working this past spring on the "We Are Marshall" movie.

Tulane sophomore Daniel Puckett and Chris Moore each scored 17 points for the Green Wave. Puckett's 17 points was a career high, but the worst and best move of the night was leaving the bench when teammate Donnie Stith and Aikens got into a bit of a shoving match battling for a rebound on the Tulane endline. Puckett and a teammate both left the bench and ran to the scrum, but coach Dave Dickerson waived Puckett back before the refs could see him and assess TU with a technical, although Tulane walked to their bench clearly with six players. Chris Ross was called with a foul after the Tulane timeout and, after the media timeout, Kevin Sims hit a free throw to put Tulane up 61-58, a lead they would not surrender the final 3:25 of the game.

Marshall must gather itself for a long road trip this coming week. The Herd will play at 5-20, 0-12 in C-USA, East Carolina on Wednesday, although ECU beat MU in Greenville, N.C. last week. Marshall will fly on to Birmingham, Alabama for a 4 p.m. meeting with UAB, to be shown on Comcast Sports South. Marshall has not swept an opponent in two games this season, although MU beat both the Pirates and the Blazers in Huntington earlier this season. The Herd's final home game will be Feb. 28 against Rice, an 8 p.m. tip for CSTV. Herd seniors Tre Whitted, Ross, Aikens and senior manager Travis Persinger will be honored that night before the game and all games can be heard on the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network including local coverage in Huntington on WRVC 930 AM, celebrating the 80th anniversary of Marshall sports on the Tri-State's sports leader this fall, and on 93.7 FM, "The Dawg."

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